Honesty in Questioning
If you had walked into my room in the dark, bleary-eyed hours of this past Tuesday morning, you would have found me sitting waist-deep in old t-shirts and Magic Treehouse books, all trailing from a nearly empty closet. If you were brave enough to step closer, you would’ve seen a school notebook with glitter stickers arbitrarily stuck on the cover and second-grade scribble filling the lined pages.
I’ve always asked too many questions, about the weather and colors and the way cars work, and mostly about God. When I was in second-grade, my mother, probably desperate for quiet on the long drive home from school, told me to write my questions in a notebook so I could remember to ask God one day just how He parted the Red Sea for the Israelites.
On Tuesday morning, I found my old questions. Many of them were silly questions, as you can imagine. But the pattern of writing them down has continued for over a decade. Instead of, “God, why are the colors in the rainbow in that order?” my questions now read more like, “God, why doesn’t this season of my life make sense?” and, “God, why is sanctification so slow and painful?” and, “God, why do you feel so silent and so far?”
and there is silence,
If I’m brutally honest with you, this past year has been a season of wrestling the silence, and I’m not entirely sure it’s a season that will be ending soon, though I desperately hope so. There have been months of questions, scribbled in handwriting only slightly better than a second-grader’s, and then the pleading that echoes David’s in Psalm 13: “Consider and answer me, O Lord my God.”
Then, and maybe even more frustrating, there are questions to my questions.
“God, why doesn't this season of my life make sense?”
Am I faithful?
“God, why is sanctification so slow and painful?”
Am I good?
“God, why do you feel so silent and so far?”
Am I a God who hears? Am I loving?
Job experienced this magnified ten times when the Lord answered him: “I will question you, and you make it known to me.” (Job 38:3) followed by four chapters of God asking God-sized questions, and Job understanding his smallness. In those four chapters, rather than making known the master plan and all the reasons, God made himself known.
Without even realizing it, I’ve been learning the language of this sort of thing over the past year by reading through Psalms. There’s comfort, I think, in the nature of words written by a “man after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14). There are pointed questions, followed by a remembrance of God’s character, and then praise. Over and over and over.
In the same psalm that David writes, “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?…Consider and answer me, O Lord my God,” he ends by singing.
“But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.”
In this season of silence and of questions to questions, it is the steady revealing of more of Christ that has become my goal. There are questions heaped upon questions, followed by God revealing more of his character to me, and then there is praise and singing.
-Morgan Jackson // @morgantea